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Staff Directory

Ryan Irlbeck

Finance DirectorAdministration218-722-7431 x115[email protected]

Ryan earned his Bachelor’s degree in Accounting from the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul. He is a former Certified Public Accountant with more than fourteen years of nonprofit management experience. Before coming to Life House, he was an AmeriCorps at Lutheran Social Services, then worked in leadership at Animal Allies and Community Action Duluth. He serves as the treasurer on the Wildwoods Wildlife Rehabilitation Board of Directors. Prior to moving to Duluth in 2010, Ryan was Vice President of Operations at Minneapolis-based Regis Corporation.

Amber Sadowski

Operations DirectorAdministration218-722-7431 x111[email protected]

Amber has a B.A. in English Writing and Environmental Studies from Concordia College and a B.A. in Education from the University of Minnesota. She also earned a Human Resource Management certificate from UWS.  A majority of her career has been spent working with children and youth in various capacities, including direct service and administrative support. Altogether, Amber has over nineteen years of experience working with young people, eight of which have been spent in the nonprofit sector. Professionally, Amber enjoys supporting programs and colleagues and working hard to help operations run smoothly. Outside of work, Amber is very involved in her community, including serving on various committees and boards. In her spare time, she loves spending time with her family, gardening and hiking.

Julie Flint, MSW, LICSW

Clinical Director/Mental Health TherapistAdministration218-722-7431 x129[email protected]

Julie has 18 years of experience providing direct services to children and families, and 8 years of experience providing trauma-focused cognitive behavioral therapy, in conjunction with other evidenced-based therapeutic interventions which are appropriate for helping children and families to understand and address their individual needs and goals for mental, emotional, physical and spiritual wellness. Julie is a Potawatomie descendent from lower Michigan, and she wrote her masters thesis for UMD on Cross-Cultural Social Work. Julie is committed to a client focused approach, which begins with developing a trusting and collaborative therapeutic relationship. Julie has been a Mental Health Therapist at Life House since June of 2014, where she serves youth, ages 14-25 years-old, who experience the highest needs and barriers in our community; Julie accompanies them as a tireless advocate as they pursue their individual hopes and dreams.

Babette Sandman

Street Wise Project ManagerAdministration218-722-7431[email protected]

Babette Sandman graduated from the American Indian Mental Health Training Project at the University of Minnesota, Duluth in 1988 where she completed an internship with the Domestic Abuse Intervention Project (DAIP). While at DAIP she obtained work through the National Training Project bringing an education style nationally and internationally known as In Our Best Interest to people who have been oppressed and dehumanized living through domestic violence and sexual assault. This training helps humanize and sets up environments that address oppression using Paula Freire methods. Babette is and enrolled member of White Earth Nation.

Sophie Hillmeyer

Community Impact DirectorAdministration218-722-7431 x151[email protected]

Sophie earned her Bachelor of Arts in English Writing from Northern Michigan University. Throughout her education, she developed her passion for writing and community building. Sophie has more than 8 years’ experience working in writing and communications. Prior to college, she completed a service term with AmeriCorps National Community and Civilian Corps.

Gabe Mayfield

Youth Engagement ManagerYouth Center218-722-7431 x126[email protected]

Gabe graduated from the University of Wisconsin, Superior in 2001 and has extensive community involvement—from the Lyric Opera of the North to the Clayton Jackson McGhie Memorial. He has been a Crew Leader and Program Manager for Duluth Stream Corps, but is passionate about basketball and the arts. He has shared those passions here at Life House, taking youth to the YMCA for basketball or teaching weekly song writing classes as the Activities Coordinator before becoming the Youth Engagement Manager.

Jordan Matteson

Youth Center Program ManagerYouth Center218-722-7431 x144[email protected]

Jordan comes to Life House from the University of Minnesota-Duluth where she graduated with her Bachelors of Social Work and Bachelors of Applied Science in Psychology. She is a dynamic resource coordinator in helping youth obtain vital documents for employment and housing. Jordan coordinates with other local organizations trips to the Vineyard food shelf as well as assisting youth with obtaining dental services.

Will Richardson

Cultural EngagementYouth Center218-722-7431 x119[email protected]

Will graduated from The College of Scholastica in 2019 with a B.A. in Peace & Justice Studies. Throughout his time in college, he created a large track record of social justice/diversity initiatives. From leading multiple social justice organizations, mentoring youth from underrepresented identities to becoming the chair of a newly created Diversity & Inclusion committee. He also served as Vice President of the St. Scholastic Student Body Senate. He serves as the Youth Center Activities Coordinator, where he leads many activities that include bringing his own passion for music in a guitar class for youth. Will loves the privilege of working for Life House, cherishing every moment spent with the youth.

Kyle Naalsund

Housing Program ManagerHousing218-722-7431 x113[email protected]

Kyle graduated from the University of Wisconsin, Superior in 1998 with a BS in Secondary Education, Mathematics. He has more than 12 years’ experience working with youth ages 13 – 21, specializing in at-risk and homeless youth.

Travis Dombrovski

Housing Case ManagerHousing218-722-7431[email protected]

Travis graduated from UW Stout in 1997 with a BS degree in Psychology and a minor in Sociology. He has worked with youth in a number of capacities. Since moving to Duluth in 2001, he’s worked in housing and case management that specialize in helping mentally ill and the less fortunate. Prior to his work at the Life House, he worked as an advocate in the Duluth Public Schools. Travis enjoys the outdoors and giving youth opportunities for new experiences.

Cheyenne Alisankus

Housing Intake SpecialistHousing218-722-7431[email protected]

Cheyenne Alisankus graduated with Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work from UW-Whitewater in 2013. Cheyenne has been working with youth for the last 13 years in various capacities. She was hired on at Life House in the Sol House program in August of 2015, and stayed on as “on call” while she worked at Woodland Hills full time. Cheyenne was hired on in the Youth Center in March of 2017, and since then has had a couple different roles at Life House. Most recently, Cheyenne accepted the position of Housing Intake Specialist within the Housing Department. As the Housing Intake Specialist, Cheyenne assists youth in navigating the housing systems in St. Louis County.

Tiffany Gunderson

Assistant Housing ManagerHousing218-722-7431 x142[email protected]

Tiffany has been working in the mental health field for 20 years with over a decade of experience working with the homeless population. She has assisted individuals with obtaining chemical dependency treatment, mental health services, building peoples independent living skills, and is a SOAR worker for Social Security. She also was active in conducting Street Outreach. Over the years, Tiffany has built exceptional relationships with property managers and landlords along with reaching out to other agencies to learn about their programs. Tiffany works with youth to understand the housing programs, which they are eligible for and allowing them the choice to apply for a program.

Josie Waldron

Housing Case ManagerHousing218-722-7431[email protected]

Josie (she/they) graduated from University of Minnesota Duluth with dual degrees in Cultural Anthropology and International Studies. With a background in mental health, LGBTQIA+ advocacy, and domestic violence support, Josie is a passionate advocate for youth and believes that housing is a human right.  Josie is excited to be working with Life House as an evening housing case manager for Brewery Creek. In their downtime, Josie loves exploring Lake Superior for sea glass and reading in their hammock.

Maya French, LGSW

Mental Health and Wellness Program ManagerMental Health & Wellness218-722-7431 x143[email protected]

Maya has been with Life House since 2019. She began working with youth in the agency’s transitional employment program and moved into her current position as the Mental Health and Wellness Program (MHWP) Manager while completing her MSW. She is passionate about providing mental health care that is equitable, accessible, and honors each individual’s personal recovery. Maya works in tandem with the dedicated staff of the MHWP to provide compassionate and empowering services at no cost to young people in our community.

Maddie Miller

Peer Recovery SpecialistMental Health & Wellness218-722-7431 x156[email protected]

Maddie has been working in the substance use field for six years in various forms, starting out as an overnight tech to then intake coordinator and has been a peer recovery specialist for four years now. Stepping into recovery herself at a young age she knows the struggles the youth face. She recently celebrated 8 years in recovery. She takes a harm reduction approach and understands that everyone’s recovery looks different. She believes in walking alongside the youth into their chosen path, however that may look for them. Her heart is in the recovery community and believes that making that connection with others is key.

Allie McDevitt, LADC

Recovery Case ManagerMental Health & Wellness218-722-7431 x128[email protected]

Allie graduated from Fond Du Lac community college and is a Licensed Alcohol and Drug Counselor. Being in recovery and an active member of Sober Squad, she is extremely passionate about working with at-risk youth especially individuals struggling with substance use. She is exceptional at giving them a sense of hope and is a positive supportive adult in their lives. Allie has been with Life House for 6 years and believes every youth who walks through our doors has a purpose, they may not know that yet. The youth have been a huge motivation and inspiration for her own self-growth.

Jason Kenison

Futures Program ManagerFutures Education & Employment218-722-7431 x112[email protected]

Jason earned a Bachelor of Arts in Education in English and TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) in 2012. His past work includes teaching middle and high school grades in central and northern Wisconsin. Most recently, he was a live-in volunteer at the Dorothy Day House for three years serving adults facing homelessness. Jason is a fierce advocate for social justice and housing issues and has been in leadership for Northland Prism, a local LGBTQ+ group the last two years, as well as participated in Showing Up for Racial Justice (SURJ), the Homeless Person’s Bill of Rights Coalition, and Family Freedom Center.

Emma McLarnan

Employment Case ManagerFutures Education & Employment218-722-7431 x127[email protected]

Emma (she/her) graduated from the University of Minnesota Duluth with a B.A.Sc. in Environmental and Outdoor Education. In college Emma found an interest in the cross over between outdoor education and working with at-risk youth and worked after college as an Americorps member at the Steve O’Neil Apartments in Duluth which provide long term supportive housing to families who have experienced homelessness. She started at Life House in August of 2021 as a youth advocate in The Loft and then was promoted to Case Manager before transitioning into the Employment Case Management position. Interested in art and business skills in her personal life, Emma is excited to work with youth to develop skills in the professional setting that will support them in developing careers in which they can thrive.  She is currently pursuing a Masters in Social Work to continue developing skills to support youth.

Ericka Robinson

Safe Harbor Program ManagerResidential Programs & Safe Harbor218-464-0970[email protected]

Ericka graduated from University of Wisconsin-Superior in 2015, earning a BS in Social Work. She joined Life House in 2014 as an intern in the Youth Center, working alongside our Youth Center staff to put her classwork into practice. She has a long history of volunteer and service commitments in the Twin Ports community and a deep passion for working with homeless and street youth.

Yas Antcliff

Housing Case ManagerNorthern Lights218-722-7431 x142[email protected]

Yas graduated from the University of Minnesota-Duluth in 2015 with a B.A. in American Indian Studies and Philosophy. She is currently working towards a Master of Education in Counseling from the University of Wisconsin-Superior. She first joined Life House as a Youth Advocate in the Loft Shelter. Yas is enthusiastic about helping youth in our community accomplish their goals.